Donald Trump has fielded many questions about his plans to address various issues if he is elected president in 2016. One of the issues at the front of many voters’ minds is terrorism and how our new leader will react to it. Consequently, Trump’s plans for action against ISIS have been a topic of much discussion. Trump not only supports strong military action against ISIS, but also hopes to take oil from them, since oil is their source of wealth and strength. Many have called his plans dangerous and foolish, but Trump simply sees it as taking what as compensation for the the damage ISIS has done. Aside from his plans on immigration, proposals from Donald Trump on ISIS may be some of his most controversial so far. This namely due to the risk of harming non-ISIS entities while implementing his plan, and because ISIS is not solely in control of the oil the United States receives from the Middle East. One of the most controversial moments involving Trump’s views on the Middle East occurred during an interview when Trump was asked the names of the leaders of organizations such as Isis, Hezbollah the al-Nusra Front, and al-Qaida. He was unable to answer with any of the names. Trump was outraged, stating that this was a “gotcha question,” and that it didn’t matter, as “The names you just mentioned, they probably won’t even be there in six months or a year.”
Fighting ISIS With Oil
Trumps first plans regarding ISIS are to fight them with oil. He believes that the best way to fight any power is by taking down their wealth, and the wealth of ISIS primarily comes from its oil. Trump plans to bomb ISIS, then encircle them with ground troops, and use both the troops and U.S. oil companies to take their oil from them. “Take back the oil. Once you go over and take back that oil, they have nothing. You bomb the hell out of them, and then you encircle it, and then you go in. And you let Mobil go in, and you let our great oil companies go in. Once you take that oil, they have nothing left,” Trump said.
Ground Troops Fighting ISIS
Trump has stated that he supports the use of U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS. He believes that only U.S. troops are strong enough and skilled enough to bring down the organization, and that ground troops are needed to achieve the defeat of ISIS. Trump told MSNBC, “I would knock out the source of their wealth, the primary sources of their wealth, which is oil. And in order to do that, you would have to put boots on the ground. I would knock the hell out of them, but I’d put a ring around it and I’d take the oil for our country.” Trump also believes that this can only be accomplished by finding the strongest ground troops out there to send in, stating, “I would hit them so hard. I would find you a proper general, I would find the Patton or MacArthur. I would hit them so hard your head would spin.” Trump also wants to increase the impact of cutting of ISIS’s oil income by targeting the money they have in the banking system. At first, Trump did not reveal whether he meant that he wanted to put ground troops in to fight ISIS. He stated that discussing the exact plan with the media would lead to ISIS knowing what his intentions were if he won the presidential election and actually moved to implement the plans. However, his comments have seemed to tend towards putting American boots on the ground.
Russia Fighting ISIS
However, Trump has also made other comments that have led listeners to believe that he would rather leave the actual fighting to other countries. Again, Trump doesn’t want to “tip his hand to American enemies,” so he has not disclosed specifics, but some comments have been interpreted as Trump supporting a Russian-based fight agains ISIS. He stated in mid September of 2015 that he prefers to let Russia fight ISIS rather than sending American troops. Russia has been building up forces within Syria, and is supporting the regime of Syrian President Basher Assad. Trump stated, ”If Putin goes in there and if he is able to knock out ISIS, which he has a big reason to do it because he doesn’t want them coming into other places, if goes in and knocks out ISIS to me that’s not the worst thing I have ever heard of.” Trump strongly disagrees with the current situation with the U.S., ISIS, and Assad. The United States is fighting ISIS itself but still aiding Assad. “Assad must think we are the dumbest people on Earth, because ISIS wants to fight Assad but they can’t get through because they are fighting us,” Trump said. He went on to state, ”If Russia wants to do the job on ISIS it would be something that I would not be extremely concerned about.” When pressed further for answers about what exactly he would do, he stated yet again that he did not want to give away his strategy, saying, “If Gen. Douglas MacArthur and if Gen. (George) Patton ever heard and some of the great generals ever heard all of this talk, this political talk, they would be spinning in their grave.”
Public Opinion of Donald Trump on ISIS
At least some percentage of the Republican Party is impressed with Trump’s statements. After the televised debate for Republican candidates, where Trump made some of his first comments regarding a plan to defeat ISIS, Trump was at the top of the public opinion polls for Republican primary candidates.
Not all are as supportive of this idea, however. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has been quite outspoken about his disagreement. He believes that Trump’s plans will only embolden the group, and that they must “love” the idea of him becoming president. He went on to elaborate, stating, “ISIL loves Donald Trump. The idea of having American soldiers taking Mideast oil for our benefit. How big of a recruiting opportunity do you think that would be? It puts Israel, the king of Jordan, all our allies at risk. “This is an insanely dangerous idea that will embolden ISIL and put everybody in the Mideast against us, turn our allies, put our friends at risk.” Graham told The Steve Malzberg Show that he believes that “Donald Trump’s plan to destroy ISIL is the most ill-advised, insanely dangerous idea I’ve ever heard.” He believes that Trump’s ideas are even worse than the current administration, stating, “I never thought I’d hear myself say that there’s a Republican running for office that’s got a worse idea when it comes to radical Islam than [President Barack] Obama.”
Graham also stated that Trump’s ideas prove that he is not well educated on the issues currently facing the United States on the terrorist front. He stated, “Because if he knew anything about the Mideast, anything about destroying ISISL, you would never suggest that we’re going to seize oil for the benefit of America in the Mideast.” He says that he understands why some Americans feel the need for drastic action and are frustrated by what is going on in the country right now. However, he believes people need a bigger picture idea than just bombing and taking over the oil industry. This is a plan, like many of Trump’s plans, that Graham believes that will do damage that will take years, if not decades, to undo.
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- Donald Trump on ISIS: ‘I would knock the hell out of them,’ and then ‘I’d take the oil for our country’ – Business Insider
- Donald Trump Reveals Plan To Defeat ISIS: Bomb, Encircle, Send In Mobil To Take Their Oil – Deadline
- Donald Trump: Let Russia Take Care of ISIS – Newsmax
- Lindsey Graham: Trump’s ISIS Plan ‘Insanely Dangerous’ – Newsmax